Survivor of e-cig explosion speaks out about her terrifying ordeal

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Her truck crashed into a tree in Tempe after police said an e-cigarette exploded in her lap. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Her truck crashed into a tree in Tempe after police said an e-cigarette exploded in her lap. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

"I have to get out of this truck right now. I have to get this fire off of me."

A 21-year-old woman who jumped out of her moving truck after her e-cigarette exploded in her lap is sharing her story for the first time.

[READ MORE: Woman jumps out of truck after her e-cigarette explodes, Tempe police say]

"All of a sudden I was just on fire."

[RAW VIDEO: Survivor speaks out about e-cig explosion]

Melissa Madsen was leaving work at the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant near Southern Avenue and Dorsey Lane back in April of 2017 when her e-cigarette exploded in her lap.

"Suddenly, what felt like fireworks and looked like fireworks started to explode in my lap," she recalled during an emotional news conference Thursday. "I was so terrified. I started to feel the flesh on my body burning."

Madsen said her first instinct was to stop, drop and roll, so she jumped out of the moving truck."It caught fire. She was trying to pat it out with her arms and her hands. But it just kept spreading," said Sgt. Josie Montenegro with the Tempe Police Department.

"I had to escape the fire, and I was just so scared," she said. "I was just possessed with sheer terror."

She tried to run with it as the truck sped along.

"The truck was going a lot faster than I anticipated."

After she dropped to the ground, she remembered the terrifying moments as the vehicle ran her over.

"As I was lying there, I was wondering, 'where's my truck'? So I look over and there it is, coming right in my direction. I saw the truck coming toward me and I thought, this is it, I'm going to die right here," she recalled.  "It comes over and it runs me over and I was so shocked; I couldn't believe that I was still conscious, but I couldn't believe the pain I was feeling."

The truck then crashed into a tree, just feet from the front door of a townhouse.

"I looked down and my pants were like gone completely gone, burned off. My legs were black," she said. "The first thing I said was, 'will I walk again?'"

Madsen was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

"Unfortunately, she suffered at least two broken hips. She has second-degree burns on her legs and thigh area and road rash on her arms and back," Montenegro said.

"I never in a million years expected that to happen," she said.

[RELATED: Arizona teen warns others about exploding e-cigarettes]

Now, she wants to warn others about the dangers of vaping. 

"I didn't know a vaporizer could be so dangerous," she said. "I wasn't even using it."

Arizona Burn Center Director Dr. Kevin Foster also spoke out, hoping to raise awareness about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

He said that one issue is that there is no regulation and no manufacturing standards.

"This is a big problem for us right now," he said.

[READ MORE: Valley man's vape pen explodes, causes serious burns]

"It's not worth it. It's so not worth it. If I could take it all back, I would," Madsen said." I'm lucky to be sitting here right now. I'm lucky to be alive."

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